Introduction: How-To: Build a Small Chest of Drawers

About: My name is Zack, I'm a full time craftsman. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to do what I love full time--turning ideas into reality. I specialize in commissioned projects, including furniture, sculpture, …

So a while back I decided I needed a chest to keep my more delicate tools, as well to aid in the general organization of the shop. Being as that I was a complete novice to this sort of cabinetry I decided to take the opportunity to explore with some design and construction techniques.

There are a few details I left out in order to keep the post succinct--If you are curious, I recommend watching the short video I made covering the construction.

If you'd like to see more projects from me, please subscribe to my YouTube channel ZH Fabrications and check out my website:

Thanks for looking!

Step 1: Cutting the Panels

The first step was to cut out the panels for the carcass. I used 3/4" maple plywood.

Step 2: Cutting the Panels to Width

Rule of keeping thumbs: Never cut a board wider than it is long on the table saw, it can bind and cause kick back. Here I'm using a cordless circular saw to crosscut the back to length.

Tools pictured: DeWalt 20V cordless circular saw.

Step 3: Assemble the Carcass

Kreg pocket hole jig. I'm using the coarse fasteners for 1.5" material.

Tools Pictured: Kreg K4MS Pocket hole system

Step 4: Install the Rails

Installing the rails, using a spacer block on both sides to keep them level. The rails add support to the carcass and provide a surface for the maple veneer between the drawer fronts.

Tools Pictured: DeWalt 20v Drill

Step 5: Cutting the Legs

I used 3/4" Mahogany for the legs, but I had to laminate two pieces together to get the thickness I needed.

Tools pictured: DeWalt miter saw.

Step 6: Cutting the Taper in the Legs

With the two pieces of 3/4" mahogany glued together, I cut the taper in the legs with a Rockwell Bandsaw.

Step 7: Attaching the Legs to the Carcass

After cutting a 3/4" recess in the legs on the table saw, I attached the legs to the carcass. Note the carcass is upside down as the feet protrude slightly beyond the bottom.

Step 8: Assembling the Drawers

I made the drawers from 3/4" thick supreme pine. Again, these were assembled using pocket screws, which are quick, strong, and simple when wood movement is not an issue.

Tools pictured: DeWalt 20v drill

Step 9: More Pocket Screws

I cut a dado in the bottom of the drawer frame on my table saw to accept the drawer bottom. The drawer bottom is 1/4" pre-finished hardboard.

Tools pictured: DeWalt 20v drill

Step 10: Instal the Drawer Slides

Installing the drawer slides, again, I find the best method is to use a spacer block in order to achieve equal spacing. In this build I am using Blum full extension drawer slides.

Note: I've found the slides can be purchased much cheaper at a local cabinet shop, or big box store than online.

Step 11: Install the Drawer Fronts

So I skipped a couple of repetitive steps here. This picture shows the carcass with the drawer fronts installed. If you would like to see the process, it is included in the video :)

Step 12: Make the Drawer Pulls

I made these drawer pulls out of 3/4" mahogany. I then routed the recess, and installed some threaded brass inserts.

Step 13: The Top

Here I am using a hand plane to flatten the top, which is made of 3/4" soft maple, which I glued up.

Tools Pictured: Wood River 4-1/2" plane

Step 14: Put Your Stuff in It!

All finished!

This was a really fun build and I really learned a lot in the process. It was actually much simpler than I had expected. My advice is as long as you have it planned out well before you begin, it should be fairly straightforward.

Thanks for watching guys! I look forward to your questions and comments.


ZH Fabrications

Tools & Materials used:

DeWalt 20V cordless circular saw

DeWalt 20V Drill

DeWalt miter saw

DeWalt plunge/fixed base router

Kreg K4MS Pocket hole system

Wood River #4-1/2 bench plane

Rockwell Bandsaw

Delta Unisaw

Boiled Linseed Oil

3/4" Mahogany
3/4" Maple plywood
3/4" Soft maple
Blum full extension drawer slides